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    Tasting: Wine
    Washington

    David Kermode picks his 10 best wines from Washington State

    Wines from Washington State – the US’s second largest wine producer – can be hard to come by which is a shame, argues David Kermode aka Mr Vinosaurus. The climate, unique mix of soils and 70 different grape varieties, not forgetting the skill of the 1,000-odd winemakers, makes for an Aladdin’s cave for the wine aficionado. Fresh from a trip to the Evergreen State, Kermode selects the 10 best Washington wines that should be on your buying radar and, most importantly, where you can find them.

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    People People: Producer
    brookdale st

    New Wave 3: What to expect from Kiara Scott at Brookdale Estate

    The New Wave South Africa tasting may be organised by five leading UK importers, but it would not be possible without the quality of wines they have to offer from the dynamic South African wine scene. So all credit must go to the collective recruitment and buying talents at Swig, Dreyfus Ashby, Indigo Wine, New Generation Wines and Fields Morris & Verdin for finding the right producers to work with. Like Kiara Scott of Brookdale Estate who is working with Indigo Wine to promote and push her wines into the UK.

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    Insight
    world

    Insight: How wine world has changed since poor 2017 global harvest

    2017 was a long, protracted nightmare for so much of the world of wine. Circumstances came together so that both the northern and southern hemispheres both endured bad harvests in most of the major wine producing countries. Whilst conditions were much better in 2018, with strong wine volumes back in the market, the impact and ramifications from 2017 are still being felt, according to the latest global trends report from IWSR. Richard Siddle picks out the highlights, and, yes, also the lowlights.

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    Tasting: Wine
    David & Nadia

    Harry Crowther on 6 of the best from Swartland visionaries David & Nadia

    South Africa’s Swartland used to be the region responsible for producing unremarkable ‘Cape blends’ and always in the shadow of Stellenbosch. That is until a bunch of visionary winemakers decided to make this ‘hot as hell’ region into one of the ‘coolest’ viticultural places on the planet. It was fitting that, on the hottest day ever recorded in Britain, Harry Crowther met up with David and Nadia Sadie to taste through their 2018 single vineyard range of Chenins and a seven year vertical of red blend Elzpidios. Crowther picks out three of each colour that he thinks deserves a place on your list.

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    Insight
    when in rome

    Janet Harrison on the benefits of switching to bag-in-box wines

    Now it might have been some time ago that you bought your last bag-in-box wine – unless you are just back from a summer music festival – but when you did one of the greatest things about it was the fact it was like a wine gift that kept on giving. Just when you thought it was empty there was another couple of glasses to eek out. That’s still the case, but the difference now is the quality of wine you can find in bag-in-box has been transformed in recent years as producers, brand owners and importers all respond to the consumer’s call for more sustainable packaging. Here Janet Harrison explains why she loves bag-in-box wines so much she has made it a key feature of her breakthrough People’s Choice Wine Awards.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Grands Terroirs

    Palmer’s new Grands Terroirs 2003 faces a pairing challenge

    We are so used to drinking a different wine with each course in a restaurant – and rarely buy one bottle that will work with a starter just as well as the dessert. So it was a fascinating decision for Champagne Palmer to launch its new cuvée Grands Terroirs 2003 at London’s La Dame de Pic – pairing just the one wine with a succession of elaborate and contrasting dishes, all in different shaped glasses – to bring out the different facets of this extraordinary wine. Anne Krebiehl MW reports.

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    Insight
    All eyes will be on the House of Commons next week for the final crucial Brexit votes

    New wine and spirits campaigns battle it out for duty changes

    Today a major new campaign is launched to try and get the wine industry better, fairer, treatment from the government when it comes to tax hikes and duty rates. It follows last year’s move by the Chancellor to single out wine for its annual inflationary duty rise whilst at the same time freezing them for spirits and beer. A line in the sand had been crossed. Why was wine being singled out? Rather than sit back and take further blows, the wine industry has said enough is enough and is today launching its Wine Drinkers UK, Cut Back Wine Tax campaign. Its principle aim is to get across to MPs, the government, the national and local media, how much damage the current tax regime is having on the future of the wine industry and why its treatment compared to other drinks categories is not only unfair, but makes no economic sense. But in the last two weeks a new body, The UK Spirits Alliance, has been set up with its own agenda. To first freeze spirits duty in the next Budget, but then “reform” overall drinks tax legislation. Richard Siddle examines what the two new campaigns are all about and what impact they are going to have.

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    People People: Supplier
    troy christensen new

    Christensen & Pepper: behind E&C’s record-breaking year

    It’s been a tough two to three years for Enotria&Coe as it arguably could not have chosen a worse time to buy and integrate the spirits business, Coe Vintners, into the company. But following what it says has been record-breaking growth over the last 12 months, and turnover up to £200m a year, compared to £128m in 2015, it looks like all the hard work and pain has been worth it. Richard Siddle catches up with chief executive, Troy Christensen, and chief operating officer, Jon Pepper MW, to get their inside line on what have been the key factors in the turnaround, and how balancing a larger share of national accounts, with a burgeoning regional and independent customer base is what is giving it the platform to deliver its strong wine and spirits portfolio.

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    Insight
    Manseng Noir

    How Manseng Noir can help climate change in SW France

    Tannat is a grape variety that will not be here in 20 years time. That is the shocking view of the head of one of France’s key cooperatives, Plaimont Producteurs. Last year they struggled to produce Tannat below 16% ABV – how they are managing in 2019 is anyone’s guess. The answer? Revive an ancient French grape, Manseng Noir, that is related to and similar to Tannat but can end up being 11% ABV. Peter Dean visited Gascogny to see first hand the amazing work that is being done with Manseng Noir and to taste the first 100% Manseng Noir produced since… the mid-Nineteenth Century

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    Jobs
    plumpton college logo

    Plumpton College Jobs: Viticulture Lecturer opportunity

    Plumpton College is looking to add to its award winning and successful wine training and management team. Plumpton College, the UK’s centre of excellence in wine education, training and research are recruiting for a Viticulture Lecturer and Wine Skills Extension Programme Manager to join the highly successful and growing wine division.  For more details and job descriptions […]

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    Tasting: Wine
    Jim Barry

    Roger Jones on pairing Jim Barry wines with top Japanese food

    With the first Ashes test defeat still such a fresh  wound, our contributing editor and chef extraordinaire Roger Jones kept conversation away from the Welsh and English team’s performance when sat next to Australian cricket legend Mark Taylor. Very much on the menu, however, was the full range of the wines of Jim Barry that were paired with premium Japanese food, including the best crab dish that Jones reckons he has ever tried.

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    People People: Supplier
    fmv storm

    Matt Smith on why South Africa is so important to FMV

    It can be a daunting prospect putting on a trade tasting. It’s the ultimate test in how popular your wines really are and how much your customers want to spend time with you. So why do it yourself when you can spread the pain, and share the love with others. Which is what the New Wave South Africa tasting is all about. In fact it is has proven so popular that September 3 will be the third time the event has happened. To tell us what to expect we talk to one of the five specialist importers that have come together to host the event, Matt Smith, South African wine buyer at Fields Morris & Verdin. 

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    People People: Producer
    One of the beekeepers inspecting the hives

    Hannah Rhodes looks to honey for new Hiver Beers brand

    “Starting with no budget, I knew that the quality would be the only way of protecting the business as it grew.” That’s the approach that Hannah Rhodes has taken in starting her own craft brewery business from scratch. On her own. But with Hiver Beers she is also trying to have a distinctive voice of her own and push and promote a growing new category to the beer market – honey beers – made using urban and rural honey. Here she explains how she got into brewing and why she hopes Hiver Beers can make a difference.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Krug Grande Cuvée 167th Edition

    Anne Krebiehl MW on the new Krug Grande Cuvée 167th Edition

    Most Champagne houses release a Non-Vintage Champagne alongside their various cuvées but not Krug. Then again Krug is not like ‘most’ Champagne houses. Krug releases numbered editions and this year sees the release of the Krug Grande Cuvée 167th Edition – a blend of 191 wines from 13 vintages dating from 1995 to 2011. Anne Krebiehl MW tastes the new wine with Krug’s Jérome Jacoillot, alongside the 166th Edition and the Krug Rosé 23rd Edition.

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    People People: On-Trade
    Andrea Dionori of Crazy Bear - Winner of the Fenjiu Cocktail Competition 2019

    Crazy Bear’s Andrea Dionori on winning with Fenjiu Baijiu

    It’s one thing entering a cocktail competition when you know the spirits involved inside out. It’s quite a challenge when you only have really heard of the hero product in question. But for Andrea Dionori, head mixologist at Crazy Bear in London, the first UK baijiu competition, organised by Fenjiu, was also an opportunity to discover the style of drink as well as compete. Whatever his approach it worked as he was the stand out winner in the event. Here he explains his winning cocktail and what he has learnt about premium Chinese baijiu.

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    Insight
    gary vaynerchuk empathy

    Why it’s time we took direct to consumer sales seriously

    If you think all the fanfare and noise about the rise in direct to consumer brands and marketing is over the top then try this exercise. Take a look at your last bank statement and count up the number of subscription services you have signed up to. Be it Netflix, Amazon Prime, Spotify, Hello Fresh, your favourite wine merchant, football or rugby team, local florist…the list goes on. All of these brands and services have a direct, personal relationship with you, online. Need more convincing? Then allow Richard Siddle to take you into the world of DTC.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Saint-Joseph

    The 2016 and 2017 Saint-Joseph you need on your list

    Fresh from a visit to Saint-Joseph in the Northern Rhône and having attended the trade show Découvertes en Vallée du Rhône in April, Rhône expert Bart Feys reviews the Saint-Joseph wines you need to be thinking of buying from the most recent, excellent vintages of 2016 and 2017. Since its extension in 1969 the Saint-Joseph appellation now covers 1200 hectares from Cornas in the South to Condrieu in the North. As a result, styles can vary but overall Saint-Joseph provides top quality reds and whites that can be drunk earlier than Hermitage and Côte-Rôtie but can also benefit from cellaring.

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    People: Producer
    Boutillat

    Piper Heidsieck rings in changes with new chef-de-cave Boutillat

    Could the future of viticulture lay in the hands of robots? Piper Heidsieck thinks so; the ‘audacious’ Champagne estate has already invested in a start-up that makes Vitibots (viticultural robots to you and me) that will be able to add precision into vineyard management. It’s one of the many new ideas relayed by the company’s new 32 year-old chef-de-cave Émilien Boutillat, who has taken the reins from Régis Camus. Fresh from Champagne Cattier where he helped make Armand de Brignac, Boutillat met up with Anne Krebiehl MW on his first official visit to London since taking over to talk about the other changes in the pipeline.

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    People People: On-Trade
    cape town

    Richelle van Gemert takes on the best in WOSA’s Sommelier Cup

    Last time Richelle van Gemert travelled to South Africa it was with a group of fellow sommeliers in the search for good food, great wine and to discover for themselves what the fuss is all about South African wines. When she returns in September it will be for an all more serious reason. She will be there to compete. For having won the UK competition of Wines of South Africa’s international Sommelier Cup she will now be taking part in the finals. Here she explains to The Buyer how and why she became a sommelier and how she is preparing for the Sommelier Cup final.

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    People People: Supplier
    Boekenhoutskloof

    New Generation’s James Booth shines spotlight on South Africa

    For all the hype, pomp and circumstance there has been around South African wines over the last three to four years, there are still parts of the premium on-trade that has yet to feel its magic. At least in terms of listings and getting more of these breakthrough wines into the hands of sommeliers and their customers. The third New Wave South African tasting hopes to change that and once again provide a springboard for so many of the country’s exciting, dynamic winemakers to come to London and show what they can do. Here James Booth of New Generation Wines explains what we can expect.

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